history

A brief history of the village...

The ealiest known settlement of Murringo was by Hazelton and McGee in 1827 who took up Murringo Station. It was'nt until sometime between 1840-1850 that the site was fixed by the Lands Department. A site was survyed in Feb 1849. "Calabash" station which has close proximity to Murringo had its beginnings in 1830 when Chapman took up a lease. Later it passed to Kelly (an ancestor of the Tout and Parkman families) It was the development of these Calabash and Murringo Stations that gave us the village. A Blacksmith, shoemaker and saddler referred to in 1862 shows that a fairly large settlement existed at this time.The early stations provided their own stores for the necessary rations as well as clothing for the employees. In 1850 Joseph Hancock opened a store (the third in the town) which in 1857 also became the local post office. Mail services started when Daniel Cotty began a service between Boorowa and Cowra via Murringo. Murringo became a telegraph office in 1880. A telephone exchange was opened in 1910. Two hotels serviced the needs of the occasional traveler and bullock wagons. A third was built but was never opened. Also in the 1850's a Senior Police Constable (most likely with a tracker) was appointed. This cannot be verified as Police Records only date from 1862. In 1863 Murringo had a Sergeant and 4 Constables. From 1879 to 1934 only one constable was stationed in the village. The Police station was closed down in 1934. The first road between Murringo and Burrangong was built by James White with the help of a native named Cobborn Jacky in 1834. As late as 1862 the road from Boorowa to Murringo was referred to as a track. Churches Bishop Broughton (then the Bishop of Australia) visited Meringa station in 1840. In 1866 the Anglican Church was opened. The Sacred Heart Church was opened in 1877, the convent school was opened in 1917 Spelling of the name Murringo. Old records show that the creek alongside Hazelton and McGee's homestead was called Murringo Creek in 1827, according to records held by the Lands Dept. Many believe that Murringo is derived from an Aboriginal name for the pine trees found along the Murray River. Perhaps the name was associated with Napoleons famous battle of Merengo, in fact the town was spelt this way until 1926 when the name was officially changed. It is interesting to know the Lands Department always referred to the modern spelling..

(from 1 page history found the village, author unknown) 

-------------------------------------------------------------

Murringo

Tiny and largely untouched historic village

Murringo is a tiny historic village located 25 km east of Young and 406 km from Sydney (via Young). It is one of those Australian villages where time has stood still. Driving through it today it is hard to imagine that in the 1850s, when the whole area was awash with bushrangers and gold prospectors, a newspaper described the town as 'a public thoroughfare and rendezvous for horse stealers and bushrangers, being in the very heart of the lawless district'.

Not surprisingly there has been controversy over the town's name. When the surveyors laid out the town in 1849 the local landowner, John Scarr, was calling his property Marengo, probably after the Italian town where Napoleon had defeated the Austrian Army in 1800. The surveyors ignored this spelling and marked Murringo on their plans. Then, over the years, a whole variety of names gained currency. At various times the village was called Meringo, Marringa, Muringo, Murringo, Maringo, Maringa and Marengo. It wasn't until 1926, when the local post office's name was changed, that the official name became Murringo.

Although the town was not officially surveyed until 1849 a government return in 1840 shows that, although it was beyond the limits of settlement, there were 43 people living on three properties in the district. The Marengo station, which accounted for 21 of these people, had been settled since about 1833.

The township grew up around Marengo station. It was planned as a substantial centre and the survey included a market place, a large cemetery and an extensive recreation area. This would have occurred but gold was discovered at Lambing Flat (near present-day Young) in 1860 and most of the development of the area moved to the goldfields.

The village was never large. In 1861 there were 128 residents; in 1871 this had dropped to 119. Still this did not deter the local residents. In 1865 a tea meeting was held and £200 was raised to build Christ Church Anglican Church. It was designed by Reverend Soares and completed in 1866. It still stands.

A few years later in 1871 a collection was taken up at Michael O'Connor's hotel and in 1874 the foundation stone of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church was laid. A convent school was attached to the church and continued to operate until the 1860s.

In 1857 a post office was established in Joseph Hancock's general store. It was moved to the school in 1860 and continued to operate there until 1879. In 1971 the postal services were returned to the town's General Store.

If you want to experience what life in a New South Wales country town was like 120 years ago Murringo is remarkably untouched and unchanged

smh travel section feb 8, 2004

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Its interesting to note that although the name changed to Murringo in 1933 (according the Census Dept), there are still some in the area who are listed in both the phone directory and postal records as having the address "Meringo" The postal code for Meringo is 2537. (As of 2006)

According to a local, a young boy was still riding a horse to Murringo school as late as 1968.  This made local television news.

-------------------------------------------------------------------- 

From "Rich Earth"

The village of Murringo in County Monteagle was laid out on an ambitious scale for a large village but at the time only a track ran along the present Boorowa st to "Mulyan" and Bathurst and a track led west to Burrangong.  Scarrs house and dairy, woolshed and blacksmith shop were marked.  The survey was made by surveyor IA Farmer and was dated Feb 3 1849.  Murringo was the flour milling centre of the district before Lambing Flat came into prominence and was the resting place for teamsters travelling from Boorowa to the Bland.  Its cemetary at the eastern end of the township is the last resting place of many of the early pioneers, notable among whom are William Kelly, original settler of Calabash and William Grounds, the pioneer of Belowara.  A post office was established at Marengo on Jan 1 1857.  Settlers to the west had to arrange for letters to be collected for them, and the Caldwells and McGregors of the Bland ran a private horseback mail service to deliver letters for the squatters. 

The soldiers memorial hall was erected beside the old old stone hall of earlier days (origianlly a mechanics institute) which became an annexe and supper room.  It cost 1745 pounds and was officially opened by Major Reid, MC, MLA on Oct 17 1928.  (For the first 3 months the hall was school of arts according to NSW state archives.  In the late 1950's the hall was showing a film every week)    

The public school centenary was celebrated in March 1960 when large numbers of former residents revisted the school, including the famous cricketer Bill O'Reilly (played cricked with Don Bradman) who said that the name of the village was spelt differently when he lived there as a boy.  (It is said that Bill played his first game of cricket at the oval in murringo)  The school was featured in the television documentary "The school Bell" in 1967.  (This was produced by the ABC, but never went to air due to fire in the ABC library)

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Christ Church Murringo

historical map(400kb pdf) From Neil Gow's "Notes on the history of Murringo village" (see state library for more)

early census information from "Rich Earth"  400kb Pdf (upside down!)

Neil Gow at the national library of Australia.

NSW Lands Dept Parish maps

NSW Lands Dept Parish maps 2